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Why cricket can never have a GOAT

ANALYST
Feature
Modified 05 Sep 2012, 20:16 IST

Cricket is a team sport of 11 players. So as a team sport, there can never be a greatest player or such. There can be many reasons for supporting the argument, let us see such things. First let us look at some people, who have been considered the greatest ever by far.

Australia v India - Tri-Series Game 10

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 26: Sachin Tendulkar of India looks on with a bust of Sir Donald Bradman before his last match at the SCG before the One Day International match between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on February 26, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Sir Don Bradman: Average – 99.94. Astonishing! Amazing! There are few adjectives to describe the achievement, which has been considered one of the greatest sporting achievements ever. Moreover, he did play without helmets or any other protective guards and yet  faced many of the ferocious fast bowlers without fear. So this must have guaranteed a spot as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).

But no, he first faces stiff competition from records created by Sachin Tendulkar, and another, a much more realistic one. Though Bradman played without any protective gear, most of his tours were limited to England, thus getting used to conditions and also the bowlers. Also, he had not toured the Indian subcontinent, when cricket was still at its preliminary stages. Also, the team he played with was extraordinary, so he did not always have the pressure from his team to perform (though he did have fans’ expectations). So, he is one of the greatest, but not the GOAT.

Sachin Tendulkar: The God of cricket, also considered as the greatest ever. His records in batting are literally unbreakable, also achieving many of the “firsts” in cricket history. Even Bradman himself have said that Sachin bats like him. Yet, he is not always considered as the GOAT.

First, there was a certain Don Bradman who has achieved a record which most probably will never ever be broken. Also, critics have found faults in him. According to them, he has never played a match winning innings for India  nor has he saved India from blushes. Yes, it’s true at times, but if one were to look at the Indian team when Sachin was at his peak, one will notice that Sachin was the pillar between victory and the opposite team.”Get Sachin, get India” was the motto used by the other teams in the 1996 World Cup, which actually turned out to be true. Yet, critics did find a fault or another in his playing style or that he has never saved a match for India. Though widely considered as the GOAT, but in my opinion, he is not.

Also, let us look at the other 3 batsmen who have also been compared with these greats – Ricky Pointing, Brian Lara and Jaques Kallis. Ricky Pointing, a great captain and batsman, has been criticized for not being able to handle pressure nowadays, wherein the Australian team has been in a rebuilding mode after the retirement of the greats. Lara, who has redefined the style of batting, has been accused  of being  a run-accumulator rather than a team player. And Kallis, the greatest all-rounder ever to play after Sir Gary Sobers, doesn’t really have a match winning knock to his credit.

Consider the 2 greatest spinners ever, Muttiah Muralidharan and Shane Warne. Though both have been great match winners, always helping their respective teams with much needed breakthroughs, yet with cricket being biased to batting, sadly bowlers are never considered for the post of GOAT.

Human beings by nature are critics. So however a great player he maybe, he can never be accepted as a GOAT. Since a GOAT, according to critics, must score bulk of runs, win matches for their team and also take wickets, and although one can say that an all rounder satisfies some of the above conditions, yet I don’t think there is an all-rounder who can satisfy ALL of the requirements.

Also, Cricket is a team sport, not a solo sport. Even if a player has all the above requirements for becoming the GOAT, he may still not be able to win matches and therefore will fall short of it.

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So in my opinion, instead of hunting for the GOAT, just support for your favourite team and cricketer and enjoy the gentlemans’s game.

Published 05 Sep 2012, 20:16 IST
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